Dear El Segundo Families and Community Members,
This is my favorite time of the school year! It’s a time when we celebrate all students’ accomplishments as they progress to the next level. While the year-end celebrations such as promotion and graduation ceremonies will be different than expected, they are still celebrations! I extend my congratulations to the Class of 2020 and all students promoting to next grade levels. ESUSD continues to have one of the highest graduation rates in the region and I’m pleased to announce we have 278 ESHS students and 12 Arena High students who earned diplomas this year.
It’s also a time to recognize ESUSD’s educators and Board of Education who are dedicated to each student’s educational journey and to upholding ESUSD’s mission. I want to personally thank ESUSD teachers, staff and administrators for a job well done in an academic year that concluded so unexpectedly! Our school district is fortunate to have an exceptionally talented faculty, classified staff, and administrative team who are committed to the success of our students, who are the lifeblood of ESUSD. Our Board of Education is committed to transforming education for a changing world to ensure our students are prepared for the jobs of the future.
It has been a significant year of achievement for ESUSD; a few of the milestones this year include:
- Named a Project Lead the Way Distinguished District, one of only two districts in California
- Issued $27 Million dollars in Series A Bonds to begin implementation of Phase 1 of Measure ES bond projects
- ESHS Ranked first among South Bay comprehensive public high schools on the CAASPP results
- Alice Lee was selected as Elementary Principal of the Year 2020 by ACSA Region 14
- Center Street School received a California Civic Award of Merit
For a list of ESUSD’s noteworthy accomplishments in 2019-2020, please visit the ESUSD website here.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020!
I’d like to conclude my year-end message by spotlighting some ESHS seniors who are graduating this week. These stories of student success provide a snapshot into our graduates, and leaders of tomorrow, who make up the entire class of 2020!
Gerardo Blanco is on his way to Occidental College in Los Angeles this fall to major in biological science and play football. With a 4.2 cumulative GPA, he is on a Pre-Med track and is considering a future career specializing in immunology or orthopedics. “My own health challenges in my youth introduced me to the practice of medicine and ignited my interest in health sciences,” said Gerardo. I’ve always liked the medical environment and I think the work that doctors do is admirable.” He completed four years in the Biomedical Science Pathway at ESHS, which he believes will help with his coursework in college. “The biomedical science courses were very involved and gave us in-depth, hands-on learning experiences,” he said. “The teachers challenged us to seek out solutions, apply critical thinking, and encouraged us to collaborate through group study.”
Throughout high school, Gerardo played on the Eagles football team. An unexpected illness and hospitalization during his junior year left his football career in question. “I wasn’t even sure I would be able to play football my senior year, let alone in college,” he said. “The ESHS coaches were understanding, monitored my health and practice time, and helped make the transition back to school less stressful.” He respects the fact that the ESHS athletic program supports academic achievement and thinks “it is amazing that the coaches set high expectations and genuinely care about students’ grades.”
As he gets ready for college, Gerardo says he is grateful for his family and their support. “My parents have shaped who I am,” he said. They taught me to work hard, remain humble, and be aware that we are all part of something bigger than ourselves.”
Delaney Cadman will attend the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor this fall as a biology major. Her love of travel and desire to broaden her horizons spurred her decision to attend an out-of-state school. She is passionate about making contributions in medicine and plans to attend medical school in the future. Delaney enrolled in the Biomedical Science Pathway and it quickly became one of her favorite classes. “The pathway helped me grow to love medicine,” she said. “Mrs. Tucker would always bring her own experiences from working as a nurse and it helped translate what we were learning to real-world experiences. And, Ms. Maisonet is a research scientist who brings a wealth of professional experience and knowledge to the pathway classes.” Delaney believes the pathway provided her with a great foundation heading into college. “The fact that ESHS offers these in-depth career pathway options is a very rare opportunity and I’m grateful for the Biomedical Science Pathway.”
A clarinet player since the fourth grade, Delaney has been a member of the Eagle Marching Band for four years. Through an extensive audition process and nominations by her band member peers, she was honored to be selected as the drum major for her senior year. She served as assistant drum major during her junior year. The Eagle Marching Band has earned many awards and accolades in recent years. In 2019, they competed for the first time in the Western Band Association’s Grand Championship. ESHS placed third among the 2A division bands. “ESHS band members put our hearts into our marching shows and we love supporting each other,” she said. “Winning is just one part of it; the true reward is the relationships that are formed and having the best time with fellow band members.” She says she will most likely audition for marching band at the University of Michigan.
Hannah Chang will attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) this fall as a biology major. In addition to UCLA, she was accepted to UC San Diego, UC Irvine, and Occidental College in Los Angeles. She is interested in biology and economics and plans to explore her career options while in college. Hannah completed four years in the ESHS Visual and Performing Arts Pathway. She focused on ceramics her first year and then switch to photography. Hannah takes acting classes outside of school and she participated in an acting camp at the University of Southern California last summer. “I think ESHS does a really great job of preparing students for what’s next,” said Hannah. “I noticed that during my senior year, my classes really pushed me in a different way. ESHS has a fun, but rigorous learning environment that has prepared me for difficult classes and large workloads, which will be very helpful in college.”
Hannah is proud to be a member of the Girls Varsity Basketball team that secured the first-ever league championship for ESHS in 2019. “I gained a lot from participating in a team sport; playing basketball really helped build my confidence,” she said. She grew up playing basketball at a local youth center, the Venice Japanese Community Center, where she is also a member of the Youth Council. Through the Community Center she coached the youth “Gym Rats” league competition and the “Sure Shots” program, a basketball clinic where high schoolers teach children the fundamental skills of basketball. She also is very involved in her church as a member of the Student Leadership Team.
Christophe Charles will be attending the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) this fall to major in electrical engineering. In addition to UCLA, Christophe received acceptances to MIT, Princeton University, USC, UC San Diego, and Cornell University. He has an entrepreneurial spirit and hopes to combine business and engineering in his future career. Christophe has participated in UCLA’s Summer Math and Science Honors academy (SMASH) each summer since he began high school and feels fortunate to have already established a support group at UCLA. SMASH prepares students from underrepresented communities to be competitive in STEM related fields at top universities. He also completed four years of the Engineering Pathway at ESHS and participated in the Raytheon Engineering Games this year where the ESHS team won second place among 60 schools competing. For his Engineering Pathway senior capstone project, he designed a soccer ball launcher, which is similar to a football launcher. The project combines two of his passions: engineering and soccer.
Christophe was a member of the Boys Varsity Soccer team for four years. He is proud to be a member of 2018-19 CIF Championship team that enjoyed consecutive titles. “That championship season was something truly special and inspired the mindset and confidence that carried the team to do our best,” he said. “The love and support we received from the El Segundo community was amazing.”
Christophe believes that the personalized attention he received at ESHS has prepared him for college. “Even though we are a smaller high school, we have “bigger school” tendencies such as in sports and award-winning music programs,” he said. “But the small class environment supports relationship-building and one-on-one attention that I believe, on a personal level, prepared me for college and career.”
Delaney Jones will attend Harvard University this fall and is interested in studying human evolutionary biology. She was accepted to 13 universities with her top two choices being Harvard and Duke University. She is planning for a career in the medical field and is considering becoming a cardiologist. Participating in the ESHS Biomedical Science Pathway exposed Delaney to the many different disciplines within the medical field, allowing her deeper insight into which medical specialty she may want to pursue as a career. She took advantage of many opportunities to learn about the medical field and gained valuable hands-on experience through a UCLA Pre-Med Summer Scholars program. The week-long program provided her with similar experiences to the pathway: viewing a Simulation Lab in action, tours of the hospital, and the chance to talk to UCLA undergrads and researchers. She also participated in the Eve and Gene Black Summer Medical Career Program through the Los Angeles Pediatric Society, spent time shadowing a medical director at a USC medical clinic, and volunteered at the UCLA Ronald Regan Hospital.
At ESHS, Delaney played Girls Varsity Soccer all four years in addition to club soccer, and she ran track her freshmen year. She was a Link Crew leader and served as Link Crew president during her senior year. “Being a Link Crew leader gave me the opportunity to meet underclass students as they begin their high school career and help them feel more comfortable in their new school environment,” she said. She was also selected as an ESHS delegate to the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Girls State, after being nominated by her teacher and passing an interview with the local ALA chapter. Girls State is an annual, experiential learning program promoting leadership in young women that is grounded in patriotism and Americanism.
“The best part of ESHS is its true sense of community,” said Delaney. “There is no polarization in activities, classes, or sports. One person’s success is seen as a collective success for the entire school.”
Achieving a cumulative GPA of 4.5, Madison Kellum was accepted to both the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California, and ultimately decided to attend UCLA this fall as a political science major. She has her sights set on law school and is considering future work as a civil rights attorney. She is also interested in journalism and how she can combine her communications skills with her passion for political science. In May 2020, Madison was selected as a semifinalist for the U.S. Presidential Scholars program. She is one of 621 semifinalists chosen from 5,600 candidates for this prestigious academic honor.The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.
At ESHS, Madison participated in the Associated Student Body (ASB) all four years and held the office of treasurer each year. She also played two years of Girls Basketball. Outside of school, she is currently president of the Westchester YMCA’s Youth & Government delegation, a program emphasizing leadership and civic involvement. Program participants help strengthen their communities by being active and responsible contributors who are inspired to lead and empowered to create meaningful change. To round out her already impressive resume, Madison completed an internship this year with the City of Los Angeles working with 11th District Councilmember Mike Bonin.
“I have had the most amazing teachers at ESHS who always try to apply what they are teaching to real life experiences,” said Madison. “They encourage us to think about things in a much broader context and promote discussions among students that help us clarify the bigger picture of a lesson. I like the sense of community at ESHS and how much the teachers truly care. They get to know us on a personal level.”
Undoubtedly, 2020 has been a challenging year with unexpected twists and turns, including important global health and national human rights issues that call for us all to unite and address together for lasting, positive change.
I want to thank you all for your understanding, patience, and grace as ESUSD adapts to a dynamic situation and do our best to deliver the educational experience you expect from ESUSD. Have a productive summer and we look forward to seeing you for the 2020-2021 academic year!
With gratitude that we are in this together,
Melissa Moore, Ed.D.
El Segundo Unified School District